My favorite thing about photographing elopements in the PNW is getting to share the beauty of this corner of the world with couples who have never been here before. This Secret Beach elopement with Emily and Chris was no exception! When they reached out to us from their home in Texas, they knew that they wanted to get married somewhere on the Oregon Coast. But they were also dreaming of a day that involved forests and waterfalls. We knew immediately that we wanted to take to our favorite gem on the Southern Oregon coast – Secret Beach! A short hike through the forest to a beach with stunning cliffs and, yes, even a waterfall!
Contrary to the name, Secret Beach is a not-so-secret elopement location. Despite being one of the least visited regions of the Oregon Coast, Secret Beach has become an iconic elopement destination. So while the beach itself is not often crowded, you are likely to see another couple taking elopement photos out here.
This area can be a bit tricky to find if you haven’t been there before – which is why it’s so important to make sure you hire an expert team! The parking area is unmarked and easy to miss, and cell service is spotty, so make sure you download your navigation ahead of time. If you’re heading north from Brookings, the parking lot is the first left after the turn off for Natural Bridges.
Once you’ve parked, take the trail farthest to the right. There are multiple ways to get down to the beach, but this is the easiest! It’s a short hike down, but can be slippery especially after rain so be careful. Once you arrive at the main viewpoint, you’ll still need to do some light scrambling down some rocks to get onto the beach. Be safe – make sure you’re wearing shoes with good traction. You can find all the trail information you need here.
If you’re thinking “Man, hiking and rock scrambling sounds like too much work for a ceremony with guests” don’t worry. We’ve got you. One of the reasons we love this area of the Oregon Coast so much is because there is so much to explore. Emily and Chris invited their guests to witness their marriage, so we helped them find the perfect accessible ceremony spot. They wanted to do as much exploring as they possibly could on their wedding day, so we took them to three different areas of the coast. Here’s how their day played out:
6:00 Hair and makeup starts, Valerie & Michael arrive for detail shots & getting ready photos
8:00 Emily gets her dress and shoes on
8:15 Drive to first look location (this spot is our little secret!)
9:00 First look + portraits
11:00 Ceremony with family and best friend at Harris Beach
11:30 They got married! Yayyyy!!! Hugs and portraits with family
12:30 Head back to AirBNB
1:00 Lunch and celebrating together at AirBnb (plus a special surprise from the couple – scroll to see the big announcement they got to share!)
5:30 Head back out for sunset adventure – drive to Secret Beach
6:00 Explore Secret Beach for sunset portraits
THIS ONE WALKS YOU THROUGH STEP BY STEP EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PLAN AN EPIC WEDDING DAY ON THE OREGON COAST!